February 5, 2003
FINAL SCORE: BALL
STATE 67, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 58
Bowie scored a game-high 20 points as Ball State defeated Northern Illinois
67-58 in Mid-American Conference women's basketball action here Wednesday
Johna Goff added 16
points for the Cardinals, who snapped NIU's season-best four-game winning
streak. BSU improved to 14-5 overall and grabbed a share of the MAC West
Division lead at 8-1 in the conference, while the Huskies dropped to 9-11
overall with a 5-4 ledger in the league. Jennifer Youngblood (Rock Island)
led Northern Illinois with 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for her 26th
a key tonight," NIU coach Carol Hammerle said of her team's 19 miscues.
"I thought we had a good game plan, but we gave up easy baskets in
the first half and had 11 turnovers at halftime. Then we got to within
three points and had two more turnovers. That was huge. You can't do that
against a good team like Ball State."
The first 12 minutes
turned into a seesaw contest featuring four ties and seven lead changes
before the Cardinals asserted control. Goff and Jessica Reiter each canned
three-pointers during a 10-0 run to give BSU a 28-20 advantage, with Youngblood
finally ending a 4:18 drought with her three-point play. The Huskies eventually
closed to within four but a quick flurry gave the visitors a 36-27 cushion
at intermission. Bowie led all scorers with 14 points at the break.
The lead quickly swelled
into double digits and the Cardinals stretched the margin to 50-38 on
Reiter's driving lay-up with 12:18 to play. Youngblood sparked a Northern
Illinois rally with back-to-back baskets and Joi Scott's (Reynoldsburg,
OH) three-point play trimmed the gap to 50-47. Dana Collins missed two
free throws on the visitors' next possession, but Reiter gathered an offensive
rebound and fed Bowie for a lay-up to re-claim control.
NIU made one last
comeback attempt when Youngblood scored on a rebound putback and Kristan
Knake (Marengo) added a pair of free throws to bring the hosts within
56-52 at the 5:30 mark. But that was NIU's last point for 3:27 as the
Huskies committed turnovers on their next two possessions. Ball State
ran off six unanswered points and never looked back.
"Ball State played
very physical, and we got soft," Hammerle said. "We didn't stay
as intense as we needed to."
Knake had nine points
and three assists in 21 minutes, her first action since suffering a second-degree
sprain to her left ankle versus Marshall on Jan. 25. She missed most of
that game and all of the following two contests.
her seventh "double-double" of the season, matching Bowie for
the MAC lead in that category. In seven career meetings, the Rock Island
native has averaged 17.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game with four "double-doubles."
Tamara match up well. Jennifer has strengths that are Tamara's weaknesses,
and vice versa," BSU coach Tracy Roller said of the battle between
two of the league's top post players. "When they go head-to-head,
it's good because each one has to work on her weakness. It's fun to watch
them play each other. I think Tamara had the edge in the first half (when
she scored 14 points), but Jennifer had the edge in the second."
Scott added 13 points---ten
in the second half---plus ten boards for her second consecutive "double-double."
The Reynoldsburg, OH, native had her first such outing with 23 points
and 11 caroms Saturday (Jan. 28) at Bowling Green State. In nine MAC games,
she is averaging 13.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest.
"It's very important
for us to have someone like Joi in the post because other then other teams
have someone else to focus on," Youngblood said of the freshman's
emergence of late. "She is a secret weapon, and when other teams
come to guard her, it frees things up for other players."
Rachel Sillar (Plainfield)
scored a career-best eight points on four-of-six shooting and also registered
four assists plus four steals in 27 minutes. Unfortunately, the rest of
NIU's perimeter players combined for 8-for-33 accuracy from the floor.
As a team, Northern Illinois shot just 36 percent (24-of-66).
Ball State hit 26
of 50 shots (52 percent) including 59.1 percent (13-of-22) accuracy in
the second half, overcoming the hosts' 35-34 rebounding advantage. Reiter
had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Cardinals.
The Huskies attempt
to start a new streak Sunday (Feb. 9) when they visit the University at
Buffalo for a 4 p.m. (EST) matinee. UB dropped to 11-8 overall and 3-5
in the conference with a 71-56 loss at Kent State on Wednesday.
-30- -- Copy by Robert